Saturday, January 12, 2019

Session A
9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Principles of Permanent Agriculture 
Jeff Poppen, Barefoot Farmer

For sustainable, regenerative agriculture, you need minerals, livestock, legumes, and tillage. Will show how this has been true for thousands of years, and then show how to do it today.

Vegetables Love Flowers 
Lisa Mason Ziegler, Gardener’s Workshop Farm

Learn how to have an organic garden where good bugs eat bad bugs, pollinators are abundant and the beautiful bouquet on the table came from your garden! Lisa tells all as she shares why flowers are the missing piece in many gardens and farms–that flowers complete the circle of life to grow an organic garden. Flowers attract pollinators, beneficial insects and other good creatures to the garden and keeps them—in the garden! There is no easier and more enjoyable way to bring this constant presence of flowers into the garden than with a cutting garden. Harvesting the flowers each week alongside the vegetables which keeps the blooms coming throughout the season. Most importantly, Lisa shares how to garden without using any pesticides that can harm and kill the very beneficial creatures we want to live in the garden.

Growing Great Garlic and Perennial Onions
Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Learn about Heirloom garlic and perennial onion varieties from planting to cultivation and harvesting at home. Ira Wallace covers soil preparation, weed control, and disease prevention as well as curing and storage requirements. Add these culinary essentials to your garden.

Introduction to Plant Breeding and Variety Trialing
Edmund Frost, Common Wealth Seed Growers

Variety trialing, whether formal or informal, is how we know what varieties work best on our farms and in our region. It is also the first step in the process of breeding new varieties. This workshop will introduce growers to basic concepts and methods of variety trialing and plant breeding, using examples from Common Wealth Seed Growers’ 2018 cucumber and melon research and breeding work that was funded by a grant from Organic Farming Research Foundation (see and There will also be examples from unfunded and less formal projects.

Take A Stand For The Land!
Ben Coleman, Mountain Run Farm

I will journey through the 25 year timeline of managing a large scale beef cattle ranch in the heart of Virginia. As a first generation, fulltime farmer, I turned to many resources for advice, some good, some not so good. After 10 years of detrimental farming practices and by financial force, a radical move toward biological, Holistic management has resurrected the ranch, bringing new health to man, land and animals, plus space for the next generation. The exciting part is, the cure is FREE! The cure is Nature! Our ultra-low input mentality had us sell all forage equipment, boycott the salesman, park the tractors, and DRIVE the animals. After 25 years of bold, experimental changes, Mountain Run Farm now serves the local community by hosting on-farm meat and produce sales and events ranging from Makers Markets and music festivals to guided bird walks and school tours. The ever-increasing diversity of plants and wildlife brings FREE opportunity to future generations to carve out a living on the land. We eat pretty well, too! My session will focus on Grass-only, birth to finish beef production, as our key tool for repairing our mistakes, regenerating the land and financially supporting the survival of Mountain Run Farm.

Session B
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Building a Farm Team without Losing your Mind or Money
Joel Salatin, Polyface Farms

Polyface operates with a team of about 20 people, but nobody is paid an hourly wage. Salaries, commissions, and by-the-project define a way to relieve the tension between employee and employer. This requires time and motion studies to determine value for different activities. Team members can then choose from an opportunity list and build their own compensation and responsibility plan.

Beekeeping: Honey and Pollination Services
Alex Tuchman, Spikenard Farm: Honeybee Sanctuary

The products of beekeeping are very important to consider for anyone hoping to keep bees naturally. With the rising difficulties in honeybee health and survival, biodynamic beekeeping provides a sustainable roadmap for allowing the bees to thrive, while still utilizing the great gifts that the bees give. The cost and quality of the essential services of honey production and crop pollination will be discussed in detail, as well as the value of wax, propolis, queens, and breeding.

Small scale Grain processing
Nazirahk Amen, Purple Mountain Organics

Sustainable small-scale farmers grow grains such as oats, rye, wheat, and barley primarily as cover crops due to the lack of on-farm processing equipment. We will review on farm processing options that allow for the creation of value added grain products straight from the farm. So, whether expanding the on-farm diet or diversifying offerings, this discussion will cover equipment options from hand harvesting and processing to the latest in small-scale grain processing options for the small farm.

Build & Market a Website for Your Farm
Resi Connell, Independence Funie Farm

In this session, we will concentrate on your farm website from a simple design/setup solution to getting listed in the search engines to increasing your marketing effectiveness. We will cover how to get your business on-line if it isn’t already, develop or fine tune your mission & story (branding), determine or refine your market, share your story and offer action steps to get found on-line. Session will include a take home work book outlining all of the steps so you can get this process going!

Industrial hemp: Prospects and challenges for this new old crop
John Fike, Virginia Tech

Industrial hemp has received much interest as a potential feed, fiber, and flower (pharmacological) crop. This talk will discuss some of the history, hope and the hype for industrial hemp, including opportunities and realities that must be addressed before the crop becomes routinely grown and economically important to Virginia cropping systems.

Session C
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM

Farming While Black: African Diasporic Wisdom for Farming and Food Justice
Leah Penniman, Soul Fire Farm

Some of our most cherished sustainable farming practices – from organic agriculture to the farm cooperative and the CSA – have roots in African wisdom. Yet, discrimination and violence against African-American farmers has led to our decline from 14 percent of all growers in 1920 to less than 2 percent today, with a corresponding loss of over 14 million acres of land. Further, Black communities suffer disproportionately from illnesses related to lack of access to fresh food and healthy natural ecosystems. Soul Fire Farm, cofounded by author, activist, and farmer Leah Penniman, is committed to ending racism and injustice in our food system. Through programs such as the Black-Latinx Farmers Immersion, a sliding-scale farmshare CSA, and Youth Food Justice Leadership training, Soul Fire Farm is part of a global network of farmers working to increase farmland stewardship by people of color, restore Afro-indigenous farming practices, and end food apartheid. And now, with the new book Farming While Black, Soul Fire Farm extends that work by offering the first comprehensive manual for African-heritage people ready to reclaim our rightful place of dignified agency in the food system. Join us to learn how you too can be part of the movement for food sovereignty and help build a food system based on justice, dignity, and abundance for all members of our community.

Cold Hardy Winter Vegetables
Pam Dawling, Twin Oaks Community

Details on crops, timing, protection and storage. Why farm in winter? Here’s the information to succeed – tables of cold-hardiness, details of four ranges of cold-hardy crops (fall crops to harvest before serious cold, crops to keep growing into winter, crops for all-winter harvests, overwintering crops for spring harvests); scheduling; weather prediction and protection; hoophouse growing; vegetable storage.

Building a Pastured Pork Enterprise 
Jordan Green, J & L Green Farm

The basics of building a profitable pastured pork business on leased & rented marginal farmland.

Growing the Local Grain Economy 
Michael Grantz, Common Grain Alliance

A panel discussion with a farmer, miller, and baker about the challenges and possibilities of growing, processing, and distributing foods made from locally grown grains in Virginia. Panel facilitated by Michael Grantz, Secretary of the Common Grain Alliance, a new Virginia-based organization working to develop our regional grain economy.

Unlocking the secrets of soil: How to create and maintain a healthy sustainable soil            Dr. Leonard Githinji, Virginia State University

Optimum growth of garden plants – vegetables, fruits, and flowers – depends on optimal management of soil properties, including physical, chemical and biological properties.  For this presentation we will discuss the various categories of soil properties including physical properties – bulk density, porosity, infiltration, and water holding capacity; chemical properties – nutrients, pH, soil organic matter, mineralization and C:N ratio; and biological properties – soil microorganism, and nutrient cycling. We will explore how each of these properties determine the fertility and health of the soil for increased productivity. The discussion will include some hands-on exercises on soil management.

Session D
4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Grow Cut-Flowers for Profit
Lisa Mason Ziegler, Gardener’s Workshop Farm

Learn the ins and outs of field grown cut flowers for profit from veteran flower farmer Lisa Mason Ziegler. She discusses tips for getting started, who you can sell to, what to grow and how to sell cut-flowers commercially. Flower farming can become a part of your homestead or your urban home with little investment. Ziegler’s urban 1-1/4 acre cutting gardens produce thousands of stems each week in season.

Beyond Edible Landscapes: Applying Permaculture Concepts in the Urban Landscape
Kirsten Ann Conrad, Virginia Cooperative Extension

The uses of perennial food producing plants are a key component in the practice of permaculture. Usually interpreted in urban settings as ‘edible landscaping’, we believe that the deliberate adoption of perennial herbaceous and woody food producing plants can be beautiful, increase sustainability, and provide important wildlife support that enhances our urban settings. This workshop will examine some of the challenges and successes of this practice while exploring other applications of permaculture that can be adapted to small urban landscapes.

Hentopia: Better Small-Scale Chicken Keeping
Frank Hyman, Hentopia: Create Hassle-Free Habitat for Happy Chickens

Let’s be honest. The standard practices for chicken keeping, whether on family farms or urban backyards, take up too much time and money. Frank Hyman is cheap and he likes to go on two-week vacations. His wife wanted chickens, but he darn sure didn’t want to waste money or come home to starving chickens. He isn’t really crazy about chickens (though he does love the eggs) but his wife loves them (“They’re pets with benefits!” she says) and he loves his wife so he invented Hentopia; 21 low-tech, low-cost, low-maintenance projects that are doable by folks who can’t even drive a nail. And yes, copies of the book Hentopia: Create a Hassle-Free Habitat for Happy Chickens will be for sale.

Financing Our Foodshed through Nurture Capital
Michael Reilly, Slow Money Central Virginia

Farms are businesses, but they are often not treated the same way as other businesses when it comes to accessing capital for their growing needs. This session will explore the concept of “nurture capital” and the several creative strategies being used around the country to meet the financial needs of small, sustainable farms. This includes, perhaps most importantly, land acquisition strategies. This session is pertinent not just for farmers but for all people who are passionate about local food and what to understand how they can contribute financially to the resiliency of our foodshed.

If you can’t do one thing, you can always do something else: A primer on Agroforestry
John Munsell, Virginia Tech

Agroforestry is intensive farming that intentionally combines trees and shrubs with crops and/or livestock on the same piece of land. Applications are relevant in open fields and dense forests, and possible in backyards and on large farms. Agroforestry optimizes biological interactions so that farm output and environmental services are maximized. This session will provide a comprehensive primer on temperate agroforestry practices that are relevant in Virginia and surrounding states. Emphasis is on practical application in urban, suburban, and rural areas and the techniques of highly productive operations that also enhance environmental sustainability where food and fiber are grown.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Session E
9:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Year-Round Organic Vegetable Production
Rick Felker, Mattawoman Creek Farms

In this session, Rick Felker will share the farming practices utilized at Mattawoman Creek Farms to have year-round greenhouse production; to plant outdoors twelve months a year; to deliver a CSA, attend a farmers market, and deliver to stores and restaurants every month of the year; and to utilize high tunnels year round.

Rick will share dozens of production and marketing tips learned from his 14 years as an organic farmer. He will discuss how to approach year-round growing, advantages and disadvantages, as well as available practices and tools to be successful. Attendees will also be invited to visit Mattawoman Creek Farms in March for a tour and interactive discussion of farming practices

Managing Risks in Organic Production through Soil Health Practices
Mark Schonbeck, Research Associate, Organic Farming Research Foundation

Healthy soil enhances crop resilience and reduces risk in organic production. However, the path to soil health can be bumpy, especially on land undergoing transition into organic practices. This session draws on research findings over the past 15 years to provide guidance on integrating cover crops, rotations, organic amendments, soil-friendly tillage, and other practices to restore and maintain soil health while reducing financial risk in organic production.

Deep Local: Bioregional Farming, Culture, and Economy
Jason Myers-Benner, Tangly Woods

In this session we explore why “local” matters, considering the implications of bioregionalism on our lives, work, and culture. What would it mean for us to take charge of our own lives and communities? Is this a way to advance harmony, love, and justice in the presence of domination and destruction? We’ll orient with a photographic look at the presenter’s home garden farm, then open to broader themes by selecting and reading excerpts from Jason’s writing on the subject and conversing together about what the readings may bring to mind.

Mushrooms and Microbes: Cultivating Soil, Plant, and Animal Health
Mark Jones, Sharondale Mushroom Farm

As our planet rapidly changes, farmers must find solutions to build and retain resilience in our agroecosystems. Explore alliances with fungi that provide farmers opportunities to support and grow biodiversity, promote soil, plant, and animal health, enhance ecosystem services, provide food and medicine for our communities, and advance biological farming through on-farm research. Mark provides an introduction to growing mushrooms and microorganisms as solutions towards a regenerative agriculture.

Accessing Virginia’s Market Sectors by Understanding Buyer Purchasing Requirements
Amber Vallotton and Kimberly Morgan, Virginia Cooperative Extension

Despite the increasing demand for locally grown produce, there can be significant challenges for growers trying to tap into new markets. We will explore buyer expectations, purchasing priorities and barriers, and food safety requirements, in order to offer recommendations for market access.

CBD Hemp: How to Profit from Virginia’s Next Cash Crop
Fertile Ground Hemp Exchange

Virginians sourcing high-quality CBD Hemp genetics, hemp farming education and unlimited buying power of your CBD crops for the farmers of the Commonwealth.
The agricultural market is changing and CBD Hemp is booming. It is an excellent transition crop from tobacco and is an easy addition to vegetable farming. Serving outdoor and greenhouse farmers, our team of farmer educators have extensive hands-on experience growing CBD Hemp crops in Virginia. From planting to harvest, our team of educators will provide the knowledge and experience needed to bring your CBD Hemp crop to market.

Session F
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM

Planning for Cover Crops in Your Garden Rotation
Cindy Conner, Homeplace Earth

Cover crops help to feed the soil, attract beneficial insects, and can provide mulch and compost material for your garden. Learn how to plan these great crops into your garden rotation so your beds are full all year. Advice is given to manage these crops with hand tools. No tiller required.

Farrow to Finish – managing pastured hogs
Jordan Green, J & L Green Farm

Best management and movement practices for a pastured pork enterprise.

Wash Station Design and FSMA: How to improve your space to save time, save your back, and lessen food safety risks
Cara Fraver, Maggie Kaiser, National Young Farmers Coalition

After a 30 minute introduction to FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule, we’ll dive a little deeper into the requirements and suggestions related to washing and packing spaces. Then we’ll hear directly from local farmers about the spaces they’ve improved or designed. While we’ll focus on food safety, we’ll also touch on upping efficiency, body-saving innovations, cost-saving measures, and more.

Beekeeping: How to Work with Different Hive Types
Alex Tuchman, Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary

A historical survey of different hive types will be the background for delving deeply into the important questions of: Which hive is the best for the beekeeper? Which hive is the best for the bees? Alex will explore the Langstroth, Top Bar, Warre, and various round hive forms from the perspective of biodynamic beekeeping, lending practical indications and experience for balancing the needs of the bees and the beekeeper within a farm.

Legal Matters relating to Local Food Production
Michael H. Drewry, Law Office of Michael Drewry / Drewry Farms

A presentation and discussion on legal matters relating to rural living and local production of food.

Session G
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Seed Saving, Preserving Genetic Diversity, Community Culture and Adding to Your Bottom Line
Ira Wallace, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange

Preservation of seeds is one of the foundations of sustainable food production. Learn why Seed Saving Matters and how GMO Agriculture, consolidation in the seed industry loss of genetic diversity and rapid decline in the number of active seed savers among black and white small farmers effects your farm or garden. Then learn about the basics of seed saving and seed production for your own farm and issues to consider when deciding whether selling seeds directly to gardeners or contracting for sales to independent seed companies both organic and non-organic will add to the bottom line on your farm.

Ferment Vegetables for Health and Flavor
Jereme Zimmerman, Brew Beer Like a Yeti and Make Mead Like a Viking

Learn how to create flavorful and probiotic-rich ferments from all manner of vegetables. From kimchi and sauerkraut, to pickles, to fermented salsas and relishes–the world of potential is nearly limitless!

Small-scale Sustainable Rice Production
Nazirahk Amen, Purple Mountain Organics

Rice is a primary staple crop for more than half of the worlds population. Traditionally considered a commodity crop, unique varieties and growing methods can create a niche market for growing this grain as a value added specialty crop. Nazirahk Amen and Purple Mountain Organics are on the forefront of a small scale grain production renaissance. Through University of the District of Columbia CAUSES, they received USDA Research Grant funding for a 3 yr project “Growing Nutrient Dense Rice using Drip Irrigation and Biodegradable Mulch”. Working with farmer Heinz Thomet of Next Step Produce, they received SARE grant funding for a project entitled “Exploring Dryland Rice Production in the Mid-Atlantic”. Nazirahk will share with us how farmers can grow rice as a specialty crop using small farm equipment. We will discuss the basics of rice physiology, dry land growing methods, variety selection, and small scale grain processing techniques and equipment that will allow the small farmer to diversify production.

Adding Heritage Breed Meat Chickens to your Farm
Brent & Anna Wills, Bramble Hollow Farm

Heritage breed meat chickens have a place on every small farm. Explore why and how to incorporate these birds into your farm or homestead. We’ll look at best management practices for raising heritage breed meat birds, choosing a breed and marketing this premium product to your customers.

Federal and State Policy: Learn the Latest and How to be Heard! 
Jill Auburn, Mark Schoenbeck, Bill Fleming, Patricia Stansbury, Sarah Hackney, NSAC

Soil and water quality, resource conservation, organic agriculture, research and extension, marketing and food systems, new farmers, rural development or urban agriculture – you name it, federal and state policies influence it. This session will get you up-to-date on the Federal Farm Bill for 2018-23, so that you can help shape the future of US farm policy and take advantage of opportunities opened by new or modified programs under the new Farm Bill. You will also learn about the annual appropriations process and implementation of new policies and programs at the federal and state levels, and when and how to engage your representatives to make your voice heard in Washington and Richmond.

Session H
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM

Crop Planning for Sustainable Vegetable Production
Pam Dawling, Twin Oaks Community

A step-by-step approach to closing the planning circle, so that you can produce crops when you want them and in the right quantities, so you can sell them where and when you need to and support yourself with a rewarding livelihood while replenishing the soil. Never repeat the same mistake two years running!

Spiritual Farming: Farming Spirituality
Joseph Murray, 7 Acre Wood Farm

Many pioneers of the organic farming movement practiced some form of spirituality. Our ancestors applied a holistic approach to farming that included elements of science, ecology and spirituality. In the mid-nineteenth century, a division occurred separating ecology and spirituality from science. Industrial agriculture blended the narrow perspective of science with a singular economic perspective; the perpetual goal of maximizing productivity and efficiency ensued. This soulless approach transformed farms into factories without roofs and negatively impacted environmental and human health. Ecology is being brought back into farming through movements like permaculture. Pitting spirituality against science presents a false dichotomy between two ways of interacting with the land. Perhaps it’s time to reintroduce the last piece of the puzzle and explore how spirituality can provide balance to materialistic and mechanistic thinking. This presentation describes spiritual practices used by George Washington Carver, Rudolf Steiner (Biodynamic Agriculture), Masanobu Fukuoka, Findhorn community in Scotland, and others. Why not use spirituality as a means to explore the magic of one’s farm and conversely, one’s farm as a means to explore one’s spirituality?

What do I do with the trees in my woodlot? Silviculture to restore and/or maintain healthy and productive forests
John Munsell, Virginia Tech

Silviculture is the art and science of managing stands of trees to achieve multiple benefits. It is often the case that few farmers actively manage their woodlots despite the numerous timber and non-timber production opportunities and amenity benefits that are typically possible. Silviculture focuses on tending and regenerating healthy and productive stands of trees that provide a suite of ecosystem services, salable products, critical habitat, recreation opportunities and other amenities, along with aesthetically pleasing wooded landscapes. This session will cover key principles and practices of silviculture and demonstrate how to use helpful tools, procedures, and guidelines to assess forest production possibilities and identify appropriate actions for achieving short- and long-term stand management objectives.

Playing with fire: Use Flame Technology to control weeds, pests and diseases
Charles House, Earth and Sky Solutions

Are you intrigued by flame technology but a little nervous to try it? Learn how to keep it safe, fun and satisfying! Find out who is using flame technology and why on earth they would want to, where and when it is safe and appropriate, what type of equipment is available and choosing which kind is best for your situation. Knowledge is power: fire power for your farm!

4:15 – 5:15
RVA Urban Farm Tour with Tricycle 
901 Bainbridge Street, Richmond, VA 23224
Donations welcomed, Transportation on your own or with the hotel shuttle

Tricycle’s sustainable farming practices are highlighted throughout the tour, including: compost, vermicompost, seed starting, sustainable growing of food and herbs, insects, water systems, local food systems, honey bees, and more. You will experience how and why food is grown within the urban setting of Richmond, VA. Tours are tailored to interest and educational goals and include discussions about food access, equitable food distribution, sustainability, farm ecology, and more.